Get ready for the K-Way Platteklip Charity Challenge
If you thought a hike up Platteklip Gorge was enough to get the blood pumping, how about running it? Even more, how about running it as many times as you can from sunrise to sunset?
Sounds insane, right? Well, welcome to the premise of the K-Way Platteklip Charity Challenge 2014, taking place right here on Table Mountain.
crazy brave Capetonians will do exactly that on 5 April 2014: make their way up the 2.1km gorge’s 800 double-size steps, that run 760 metres from bottom to top. Once there, they make a dash for the cable car and take the easy way down. And then they do it all over again. All day long.
At this point, you might ask why on Earth anyone would subject themselves to such a gruelling challenge. The answer is that it’s for a very good cause – to raise money for Sinenjongo High School in Joe Slovo Park, Milnerton. The school serves an extremely impoverished community that has a high unemployment rate and a large number of child-headed households.
Due to its location close to upmarket areas, it is rated by the Western Cape Education Department as a Quintile 4 school, requiring learners pay school fees to help cover the cost of running the school. However, very few of the learners can afford the R250-a-year school fees.
The prefabricated school has little or no resources – no hall, no library/resource centre, no staff room and no sports fields or facilities.
Despite this, corporate sponsorship of the school in recent years has enabled the school to lift its matric pass rate from 27% in 2008 to close to 90% in 2011. Last year 77 matrics passed – double that of the previous year, with 56 qualifying to go on to tertiary education.
This was achieved by private sponsorship covering the salaries of additional top-class Maths, Science and English teachers, who are tasked with not only teaching but upskilling the other educators in order to make a sustainable difference. Sponsoring a contestant will see your money go towards continuing the great progress that has been made at Sinenjongo High School.
How to get involved
- If you are up for the challenge, you can register as an individual or as part of a team here
- If you’d rather make a donation and avoid the aching calf muscles, you can sponsor a runner here. You get to sponsor an amount based on how many summits are completed – a great incentive for going the extra mile (well, 760 metres)
- Support the athletes by cheering them on at Table Mountain. The Cableway will be open as usual (weather permitting)
The Table Mountain Aerial Cableway is proud to support the challenge, and will happily provide free rides for all participants and officials on the day. In addition, we’re sponsoring a water point, sandwiches and a cocktail event at the end of the race.
We’ll also be showing our support for our very own team, the Cableway Walkers, consisting of staff members Flippie Pieterse, Lincoln Hantam and Sa-ad Brown. Good luck guys!
Going for the Guinness World Record
André “AJ” Calitz set a new course record in 2012. Then, he set another in 2013, for the most number of ascents in the 11-hour duration of the race. His 12 summits add up to an accumulative 9 120m of climb – that’s almost 300m higher than Mount Everest from sea level to summit!
This year, Calitz will attempt to run up Table Mountain’s Platteklip Gorge more than 14 times, and set a Guinness World Record for the “Greatest vertical height climbing stairs in 12 hours”. In order to cram as many summits into his day as possible, he’ll have a car waiting for him at the bottom of every circuit to quickly take him to the beginning of the Platteklip Gorge, ready for the next ascent.
“Driving from the Cableway to the start of Platteklip, instead of running, will save me at least five or six minutes per lap and I’ve got the chance to relax and feed properly in the car,” Calitz explains.
“The ride also gives me the chance to recover mentally for the next one. When you’ve completed a lap or two and know you have another 13 to go ... this time to relax is important.”
The Cableway will open earlier to help with Calitz’s record attempt – he’ll catch a cable car down from the top at 6.30am. The Lower Station ablution facilities will also open at 6am on that day as participants arrive early, before the start of the race.